Part Twenty-One August 21, 2016
He put on his googles, strapped on his Spartan helmet, and opened the large window in his room. The first time he did this didn’t go over so well.
The Blackberry DTEK50 vibrated inside the left breast pocket of his olive green polo shirt just as he was replacing a motherboard into an old Apple Macbook Pro at Joe’s. He flipped the lid open. Ms. Grady will pick you up at 8:30 p.m.
As Norm walked towards his new apartment building he saw a cherry red Audi R8 parked in the curved driveway before the entrance. He walked up to the driver’s side. The window rolled down. “Been awhile,” Ms. Grady said with her innocent sounding lisp. She passed him a large hockey duffel bag with a large Toronto Maple Leafs logo covering the side. “Should be able to get everything inside. I’ll wait for you here.”
He saw his mother sleeping on the couch. The news was blaring from a 60” 4K Panasonic TV that came with the apartment. On the screen Alejandra Ceto was standing in front of protesters. One of them said into her mike, “Allaric Hemping’s monthly demands on the city are killing our ability to live! We need a new hero! Levitar is dead and Event Horizon is a failure!”
He went into the secret room and gathered up all the equipment. Allaric Hemping had to be stopped! Was all he could think of as he put the bag into the Audi’s trunk and jumped into the passenger seat.
“Seatbelt,” Ms. Grady said.
She drove to the warehouse behind Helio Technologies main building. A security guard inside a booth pushed a button that opened the corrugated steel door to the warehouse. Norm saw large crates to either side and the occasional forklift and pump truck. They came to another corrugated door. Ms. Grady pushed a button on the dashboard and the door opened to an elevator.
Norm could see a digital display through the front window. It counted to THREE before stopping. The elevator doors opened and Norm’s jaw dropped.
“Helio Technologies is part of the Alpha Five program attached to the CSIS. Whatever you see in here is classified and you will be killed if you speak of it.” The cuteness to Ms. Grady’s lisp didn’t sound so heartwarming to Norm at that moment.
Inside the room along half of its rotunda wall were alcoves with a variety of suits with jetpacks and other devices he didn’t recognize. The other half of the rotunda was made up of police silhouette target sheets or what looked like shot up robotic mannequins. The ceiling of the first floor was simply a net.
“Out we go!” Ms. Grady said getting out of the Audi. “We’ll go to the third floor so you can practice.” A curving stair led up to a second balcony with monitors that would take up the entire surface of one of his bedroom walls; there were no keyboards. Between the monitors were exits with signs for washrooms, cafeteria, and other symbols he didn’t understand.
Another stairway led to the third balcony. The balcony was empty except for an opening in the cast iron railing. A platform that reminded him of an oversized diving platform stretched a few feet from the railing.
“Put your outfit on,” Ms. Grady said.
She checked him over when he was done; tightening his harness here and there and making sure the clips of his cape were all attached. “The clips for your legs should come off easily when you land.”
“Land?” he asked.
“You’re going to learn to glide.”
Norm looked at the platform, the netting below, and the floor below that. “Any other instructions?!”
“If you can’t land on your feet land on your back or you might snap your spine.”
He stood on the platform shaking. The net might break but others must have done it before him, he thought. He felt a hand on his back. And a push!